LINGAYEN, Pangasinan — The Provincial Health Office (PHO) has recorded a 31-percent increase in acute gastroenteritis cases in the province to 4,282 from January 1 to May 20 this year from 3,260 during the same period last year.
PHO’s data showed that children aged one to four years old are the most common victims of the illness, with 1,460 cases for males, and 1,026 cases for females.
Provincial health officer Dr. Anna Ma. Teresa de Guzman said that aside from the sudden increase in the number of cases, a 41.18-percent increase in deaths has also been tallied.
“From last year’s 17 deaths, the death toll has risen to 24 this year,” said de Guzman in an interview Wednesday.
Of the 24 fatalities, five were recorded in Dagupan City; Binmaley with four deaths; the towns of Manaoag, San Fabian, Mangaldan, and Malasiqui with two deaths each; and one death each in Sta. Maria, Umingan, Binalonan, Mapandan, Infanta, Aguilar, and San Carlos City.
De Guzman attributed the casualties to poor hygiene and contaminated water.
“Most of the patients do not practice washing before drinking or eating. Hand washing is the number one defense against such diseases because most of the harmful microbes can be removed via washing. They should also make sure that the water they use both for washing and drinking is clean,” he said.
Meanwhile, the PHO is also on the lookout for other illnesses, such as dengue and leptospirosis.
Based on their surveillance on dengue on the given period this year, 1,133 cases have been recorded, 11 percent lower than last year’s 1,280 cases, with only one fatality from the town of Villasis.
Leptospirosis cases also recorded a 78-percent decrease, with only eight cases and one death recorded this year in contrast to 2018’s data with 36 cases and six deaths.
De Guzman warns that cases may increase with the upcoming rainy season.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) may declare start of wet season by mid or late June. Ahikam Pasion / PNA – northboundasia.com